April 28, 2012
Former Perth dance student Brodie James has become the only Western Australian invited to join the prestigious Australian Ballet this year.
James, 19, who previously trained at Jody Marshall Dance Company in the northern Perth suburb of Warwick and The Graduate College of Dance in Subiaco, said he was “left speechless” after receiving the offer.
“Having a place in the company marks the beginning of a new chapter for me,” the former Alexander Heights resident said.
“I have reached a goal that I have put endless years of training and effort in towards.”
The 2011 Australian Ballet School graduate moved from Perth to Melbourne in 2008 after accepting a scholarship to train at the Australian Ballet School.
“It was at that moment I remember thinking to myself: ‘I have a serious chance at making ballet a career’,” he said.
The move from Perth to Melbourne alone at age 15 was “challenging and eye-opening” for James.
“I was a mummy’s boy and found it extremely hard to be independent at such a young age, but I slowly adjusted and I now appreciate how beneficial it was,” he said.
James praises his family’s efforts to maintain a high level of support throughout his training and career.
“My parents sacrificed a lot to support me while I was training and living away from home and my brother has always shown a huge interest in what I do even though he isn’t a dance fan,” he said.
Russian ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov has been an important role model throughout James’s training and career.
“The level of dance he was at during his time reminds me not to hold any limits over myself and never to get complacent,” James said.
He describes his journey to becoming a dancer as “a roller-coaster”.
“There are some great highs such as performing on stage, learning new repertoire [and] being able to meet and work with such talented people, but there are also terrible lows such as injuries, rejection and having to make a lot of sacrifices,” he said.
“But I find the reward of an audience clapping and cheering for me like nothing else and the thing that drives me is to make those people happy.”
James will be back in Perth in October with the Australian Ballet to perform in Romeo & Juliet.
Photos provided by Brodie James